Vuelta a España (st. 3)
Alejandro 12th at sprinters’ finish in Alhaurín de la Torre after Movistar Team leads bunch through entire run-in into finish, keeping Nairo Quintana (9th overall) perfectly safe.
The Movistar Team again showed its collective strength during stage three of the 2018 Vuelta a España, a hilly course of 178 kilometers between Mijas and Alhaurín de la Torre. In another scorching hot day, with head winds for most of the route, plenty of nasty slopes and lots of wear and tear, the squad managed by Eusebio Unzué kept itself together in the beginning before powering towards the front of the bunch in the finale, most notably into the last 20km downhill.
The protecting labour from the start by Bennati and Erviti; the off-spotlight duties from Anacona and Carapaz; and, most notably, the strong turns at the head of the field by a phenomenal Nelson Oliveira and Andrey Amador until the final 2km, all helped Nairo Quintana -still 9th overall- and Alejandro Valverde, who finished next to the sprinters in 12th spot to remain in second overall, both finish without incidents.
The Vuelta a España will take the riders into its first trascendental mountain stage on Tuesday, finishing atop Alfacar (Cat-1; 12 kilometers at 5%) after 161km that will also include the Alto de la Cabra Montés (Cat-1), a natural transition between the coastline and the sierra.
Alejandro Valverde: “I was trying to stay in a good position to avoid crashes, above anything else. I wasn’t even planning about contesting the stage against those top sprinters. I felt good, even if it was a very hard stage because of the heat. Tomorrow’s climb to Alfacar – well, I can’t say it suits me better than yesterday’s, because if I won yesterday, there’s nothing I can improve from that. But it isn’t bad for me, not at all (smiles).”
Nairo Quintana: “Happily, it was a day with no setbacks. The idea was staying at the front of the bunch into that final descent to avoid danger, becaue going a bit more to the back not to disturb the sprint. It was all about avoiding troubles today – we didn’t want to make gaps, but avoiding crashes. The team is doing an excellent job.”
Picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport
- 01 Elia Viviani Quick Step 4h48'12"
- 02 Giacomo Nizzolo Trek-Segafredo "
- 03 Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe "
- 12 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team "
- 40 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team "
- 41 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team "
- 89 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team "
- 90 Winner Anacona Movistar Team "
- 94 Andrey Amador Movistar Team "
- 112 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team "
- 126 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +2'35"
- 01 Michal Kwiatkowski Team Sky 9h10'52"
- 02 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +14"
- 03 Wilco Kelderman Team Sunweb +25"
- 09 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team +33"
- 37 Winner Anacona Movistar Team +1'36"
- 52 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team +2'36"
- 62 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team +3'30"
- 88 Andrey Amador Movistar Team +7'16"
- 99 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +10'00"
- 110 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +11'38"